Super League: Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers preview
Last Updated: 03/07/14 10:27am
Castleford Tigers will look to leapfrog reigning Super League champions Wigan Warriors and move into third place when they travel to face Widnes Vikings live on Sky Sports on Thursday night.
Daryl Powell's side enter Round 19 level on points with the defending champions, but could move within two points of league leaders St Helens should they prevail against the eigth-placed Vikings at the Select Security Stadium.
The Tigers come into the match on the back of a 14-10 victory over Salford Red Devils, with Jake Webster and Justin Carney touching down as Castleford bounced back from successive defeats.
Despite taking two points from the Red Devils last time out, Powell is well aware the Tigers were short of their best and will be eager to avoid any costly slips as the fight for playoff places intensifies.
“I thought we were in control at 8-0, but it gets like that when you’ve lost a couple," he said. "We came up with a couple of smart plays to get the job done eventually but, on the balance of possession, you’d have expected them to win the game.
“However, it’s about winning and I thought we did enough to come out on top at the end."
Meanwhile, Denis Betts' Vikings arrested their recent slide, losing three consecutive league outings, by hammering London Broncos 42-24 at the Hive Stadium to further prolong the capital side's search for a Super League success.
Following their capital gains, Betts has been boosted by the return of Liam Carberry, who could make his first appearance of the season.
Carberry has been missing since suffering a broken leg and ankle damage in a pre-season trial.
The return of Carberry means prop Eamon O’Carroll is the club's only long-term injury concern and the Vikings coach is delighted to have an almost fully-fit squad to select from.
“At the moment, Liam Carberry just played his first full eighty minutes for a Cumbrian select side at the weekend," Betts told the club's official website.
"So that’s nice to get him back on the field, there’s only really now and that’s Eamon and he’s training really well and we’re pleased with how he’s looking.”
Powell has made just two changes to the 19-man squad which edged out Salford last time out and there is a welcome return for Michael Channing.
The 22-year-old winger is back in the squad following an injury layoff, at the expense of last weekend's hero Jake Webster. Oliver Holmes also returns, with Frankie Mariano dropping out this time.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, Brown, Cahill, Carberry, Clarke, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Mellor, Phelps, Tickle, White
Castleford Tigers: Dixon, Shenton, Carney, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Massey, Clark, Holmes, Wheeldon, Ellis, Channing, Finn, Jewitt, Carvell
Watch Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers live on Sky Sports 1HD from 7:30pm